I’m in the midst of my 3rd annual pilgrimage back to the beach.
My sister and I sat on the sand at Redondo, looking at the ocean, listening to the waves, feeling the warm breeze, smelling the salt spray and thinking how much we missed it all. We wondered why we ever left Southern California. Oh yeah, nobody would pay me to sit on the beach. Even when I lived there, the need to pay for a house, groceries and a car to drive to the beach, kept me too busy working to actually go to the beach. And my wife and I vacationed with family who lived elsewhere because we could stay for free. Now that I am a wealthy corporate executive, living off the sweat of hard working, middle-class Joe-the-Architects in Ohio, I can afford to come back and vacation at the beach cities I used to live near and sit in my own sweat on the hot sand, doing nothing.
My sister and I sat on the deck of Kincaid’s at Happy Hour, sipping $4 Happy Hour wine, eating half-price expensive appetizers like buffalo prawns and baked brie with nuts and sweet goop on it, listening to the waves lap against the pier, smelling the salt spray, watching the sun go down and thinking how much we missed it all. No, wait, when I lived here I couldn’t afford Kincaid’s, even at Happy Hour. The budget for the house, groceries and car to go out with left us about $25 a month for “entertainment”. My wife and I went out for pizza and iced tea.
I drove South on the 405 from the LA airport toward Newport Beach, in the middle of five lanes of sun-bleached asphalt, bounded on either side by fried, brown foliage; up ahead were overpasses of gray concrete, with a backdrop of bluish-brown haze, all stitched together by black electric wires strung across frames of steel. I could feel the hum of traffic and electricity and see the heat shimmering off the road. I realized I was passing El Segundo as the thick odor of crude oil enveloped me and I thought how much I missed all that too. I guess when certain things are imprinted on you in youth, even the foul odor of El Segundo or the LA Harbor, they can evoke nostalgia for the idiotic joys of lazy youth from 40 years ago. I think Proust said that.
Maybe I can convince the architects to give me cell phone network hookup for my laptop and I can direct their finances from just south of lifeguard station 7 on Redondo Beach from now on.